Crisis and Reform in the 1990s: The Economic Aspect
As recently as the late 1980s few Western analysts focused on the Russian countryside, on the regional patterns of agriculture, or on the processes unfolding in the realm of Russian villages. During several field trips to Russian villages Wegren identified several political, economic, and cultural obstacles to reform as they apply to localities. Although the situation in agriculture was short of an outright economic catastrophe in the 1980s, sustained moderate growth in production and consumption was occurring at a disproportionately high cost. Along with internal cost-accounting on socialized farms, some steps were made to expand their economic rights. A deep crisis of the whole food procurement system preceded the radical reform measures of 1992 and had resulted from previous economic arrangements governing Soviet agriculture. His breakup of the USSR precipitated radical economic reform. The removal of state control over retail and wholesale prices became the first and the most publicized aspect of reform.